Getting your children to eat healthy is easier said than done, as I've learned firsthand. Because although I regularly and repeatedly serve my kids a variety of fresh and cooked vegetables, the vast majority of it winds up in the garbage disposal (along with my pride, I might add). However, this mom's hack for getting kids to eat healthy snack is seriously brilliant and I plan on copying it ASAP.
Sarah Hornung — a school administrator in Buffalo, New York, and the person behind The Eager Teacher education platform — recently shared a healthy snack hack to end all healthy snack hacks. So far, her Facebook post has been shared 115,000 times and liked 84,000 times, and it isn't hard to see why.
"Sunday self-serve is ready for the week," Hornung started off her Sept. 15 post, according to POPSUGAR. "After grocery shopping I always wash and prep all of the food that is considered self-serve in our house. Self-serve for my kiddos means help yourself without asking and it’s always an okay snack (any time of day, bedtime snacks, etc.)."
She continued her caption alongside a photo of healthy snacks neatly organized in containers, writing, "It also helps me when I’m packing lunches and snacks, or as a side dish when dinner doesn’t include something they will definitely eat or if we have a busy/late night."
She went on to explain that there's just "something about having things truly ready to grab" that makes her kids actually eat it. Having to do even one extra step — like taking carrots out of a bag or plucking grapes from their stems — only resulted in uneaten produce.
Check out her genius setup for yourself!
Apparently, Hornung's clever way of avoiding wasted produce while also helping her family snack healthier hit a nerve for a lot of people. One Facebook user wrote, "I do this and it works great ... kids can pack their lunches. We also prep the dinners which makes dinners super quick. Meal prep goes from 45 minutes every night to 15 of cooking ... give or take."
Oh and for the record, this tactic seems to be effective for older kids, too. Another person commented, "My 'babies' are college age and I still have to cut up fresh fruits and veggies or they will rot in the fridge. This summer I kept a big sectioned container in the fridge and I honestly couldn’t keep up with them. They would eat that though before chips etc."
Yet another Facebook user wrote, "Great idea..might do this for myself to prevent eating cake!" (LOL, same.)
"Everyone can relate to throwing out untouched produce at the end of the week and most parents find themselves in some kind of negotiation with kids over food on the regular," Hornung told Good Morning America about her hack. "It's not an expensive or complicated 'hack,' all you need is some old quart containers and your normal grocery haul."
Furthermore, I think Hornung hit the nail on the head regarding why why the post has gone viral. She told GMA:
I think my post appealed to the masses because it looks like most people's fridges — just organized into containers I bought at a dollar store. I think it's something that regardless of how old your kids are, what they like to eat or how much money you make, it is a doable idea.
A. Freaking. Men. If it's simple, cheap, and effective — I'm in.
Interestingly, this "hack" is actually in plain sight on HealthyChildren.org, the parenting website by the American Academy of Pediatrics. When it comes to encouraging kids to eat more fruits and vegetables, the website reads, "Provide fruits and vegetables as snacks. Keep fruit washed, cut up and in plain sight in the refrigerator." Other tips include serving salads more often, trying out vegetarian recipes, and adding a fruit or vegetables to every meal or snack.
You know what? I'm inspired. This week, you can bet I'm heading to the dollar store to load up on some quart containers to get started on a self-serve healthy snack bar for my family. Fingers crossed that my kids start eating more fruits and veggies, too!